Tag Archives: dublin

An interview with NUIG’s Jailbreak students, Aaron Molloy and Shane Tierney (March 2014).

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Last month, local NUIG students, Aaron Molloy and Shane Tierney, took part in Jailbreak 2014. They raised over €1000 for their selected charities. 

They recently answered some questions about their experience.

What is Jailbreak?

“Jailbreak is a national student charity weekend, where students from Ireland’s Universities have 36 hours to get as far away as possible from their starting point in Kilmainham Gaol, without using any of their own money on travel. Teams were allowed to seek sponsorship from companies and businesses before the weekend began. Money was raised for the charities before and after the adventure started”.

And why did you decide to get involved?

“We thought it was a great opportunity to fundraise for charity and see the world at the same time”.

Had you decided on a destination before the trip?

“No, we had no set plan, but we intended on heading in the direction of Istanbul or Dubai. We had a small amount of money raised, which was donated by multiple sponsors so we knew we would be able to get out of Dublin. We decided to just check how much flights would be to the States last minute and to our surprise we found a flight to New York within our budget. We had 45 minutes to book our tickets, register for the visas and make it to the check in. We legged it, got to the gate with minutes to spare and got on our way to the USA. First stop was Heathrow, then Newark”.

Did you get a lot of support from people, both in the community and further abroad?

“The amount of support we got from the local community, from the generous strangers we encountered and from the lovely staff of British Airways was unbelievable. At Dublin airport itself people were so generous. United Airlines staff gathered together €50 between them and another random woman donated the last €20. We couldn’t believe it”.

“A coffee morning was also organised prior to the trip and a huge amount of money was raised for the charities. We are so grateful to Dermot, Lin and Staff in Breathnach’s Bar for hosting the coffee morning and for their continued support on our adventure. We would also like to thank all the people who came along and supported the coffee morning. The charities were St Vincent de Paul, Amnesty International and Draiocht. Also the support from our friends both in Oughterard and in college was phenomenal and we are very grateful”.

Was there any ‘standout’ moment from the trip?

“It was an amazing experience, but the highlight was probably the top of the Empire State Building. We just about managed to make it there for the deadline. We were proud and delighted to have gotten as far as we did. By then, Jailbreak was over, and having come 2nd place in NUIG, we were delighted. We had some time to explore New York and we certainly packed a 5 day holiday into 36 hours!”.

Any advice for students thinking of getting involved next year?

“If we were to give any advice to students participating in Jailbreak next year, we’d say, don’t think about it any further and just do it. It was an unbelievable experience. We would also advise that the participants enjoy the whole experience and don’t make plans. Just go with it”.

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Flashback: An interview with Heathers (July, 2013).

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Yesterday, I had the chance to speak with the lovely Ellie and Louise Macnamara, the twin sisters who make up the band Heathers. They were in Galway ahead of their Galway Arts Festival performance at the Roisin Dubh last night.

Their music is great, and they’re great. Have a read below of the interview which covered the duo’s musical journey from family gatherings, to sleeping on floors, to the Oscars! And, of course, Maltesers.

Katy: Have you always played music together?

Ellie: When we were younger we’d have family gatherings and we’d be forced to sing together. And then we kind of got to the teenage years, and we were really, really, shy, and wouldn’t sing at all. Then when we were in secondary school we joined the school choir and that kind of taught us to harmonize and gave us that little bit of confidence we needed to maybe try and sing again. And then in 2007 we formed Heathers, and that was really the start of us writing our own music and performing together.

K: Is there music in your family?

Louise: Yeah, both our parents are great singers, and our brother is in so many different bands, and grew up being in so many different bands. I think that encouraged us to start playing music, and to start a band together. Our younger sister also has an amazing voice, so we’re all pretty musical. We’ve been playing the piano since the age of five or six. And then I started guitar at seventeen.

E: Yeah, I guess we are pretty musical. We listen to a lot of music as well!

K: When did you have your first gig?

L: The first ever gig we played, wasn’t so much a gig… We played at a gathering up in Killiney Hill. That was the first time we ever played together…

E: In front of people. Our own music.

L: Then the second time was our friend Alex’s 18th birthday. We played in a venue called The Lower Deck in Dublin. It’s a venue we played a lot at when we started out. Yeah, that was just the two of us. I think that was one of the only gigs we’ve ever played sitting down. Since then it’s standing up the whole time. And then after that…

E: Was it supporting Nine Lives?..

L: ... in the Voodoo Lounge.

E: And we weren’t eighteen, so we weren’t actually allowed in. I remember hiding in the toilets until we played because the bouncers were going to throw us out!

K: Then your debut album was released in 2008.. An exciting time?

L: Yeah, like, when we started Heathers we didn’t even have plans of releasing anything. We were putting on gigs, kind of DIY pub gigs, and then I wrote a song. I went into Ellie’s room, Ellie put some harmonies to it, and it kind of took off from there! We had around four, maybe five songs, by the summer of fifth year in 2007. And it was maybe our fourth gig, the one after the Voodoo Lounge, we played with an American band who were touring over here, who we were big fans of, called Ghost Mice. We played with them in an old abandoned tea house on Killiney beach, and Chris from Ghost Mice who runs a record label called Plan-It-X Records in the States, really liked our music and said I want you to write enough songs so that I can release a record of yours on my label and then maybe we can tour together! And that’s what we did! We wrote enough songs for an album. Eleven songs altogether. We recorded it during our Mocks, so that was maybe January/February 2008. Then we released it the week before our Leaving Cert. It was crazy!

E: And our parents said that if we worked hard at our Leaving Cert that they’d let us go to America.

L: Yeah, so then we went on tour with Ghost Mice that summer. 34 gigs in 30 days. It was so hectic, but an absolutely amazing experience. Since then, a lot of things have happened… In 2010 we re-released Here, Not There when we got Remember When, the first single on the album, on the Discover Ireland ad. We set up our own record label – Aunthill Records.

K: Did a lot change with that Discover Ireland ad?  

E: I think it really opened a lot of doors for us, because it got our music out there for so many more people who otherwise may never have heard our songs. I think a lot of the things that happened after that were slightly as a result of that ad. It ran for three years, which is incredible. I’m sure some people are sick of it. But It really boosted our career.  We ended up writing our second album, and who knows, maybe we wouldn’t have written a second album… I don’t know. Maybe we would… But it was wonderful for us.

K: And then you released the second album last year. And now you’re playing at the Galway Arts Festival… What has been the ‘stand-out’ moment for you?

L: Definitely those tours of the States that we did. I’ll never forget them. They were the kind of tours that we’ll never do again. We were traveling around in a mini van, no air conditioning, staying on people’s floors… Getting to see the whole country, and experiencing it in a different way. Now when we go touring in the States or Canada we have a band and it’s more so playing in venues and staying in hotels. It’s a completely different experience.

E: I think my biggest standout moment was in February, when we played at a pre-Oscars party in LA. There was a moment where we were playing and Stephen Spielberg and J.J. Abrams were sitting where you are right now – that close. It’s one of those moments where you’re singing your song and you’re kind of making eye contact with people in the audience then you’re like, “What the HELL!!?”.

L: All I could think was, “E.T.”

E: And even just recording and releasing our second album. I can’t believe we’ve written and released two albums!  I never thought we’d do one album! It’s pretty amazing, and we’ve got to see so many amazing places and meet so many wonderful people. There’s been a lot of highlights.

K: You’re involved with social media a lot between Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook. Do you think that’s important to keep in contact with fans?

L: Definitely.

E: I think it kind of personalizes everything a little bit. Personally, with bands and artists I like, I love going on Twitter and seeing them say something about what they’re doing, or what they’re up to, it makes it all a little bit more intimate. I love it! It’s important to have that little bit of a connection with people who like your music, and buy your music, and want to see you play. It’s cool, because you can control it, and let out as much as you want to. And also just for staying in touch with people, and getting information out there about gigs or if we’re releasing something. It’s a wonderful way to just get everything out to everyone.

K: What’s next for Heathers?

E: Well, we‘re really excited about tonight. Then we’re going to head off to Germany at the end of July because we’re releasing our album in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Poland!

L: And I think we’re going to have an Irish tour in September/October time, so we’re going to be releasing dates for that soon.. in the coming weeks. And then we’re writing a lot, constantly writing. When we’re not touring, we’re writing. So hopefully, maybe a release of something in the coming months or year or so. We’ll see!

K: Finally…. My quick questions! 

Favorite song or album right now? Or ever… if you can answer that. 

L: Can I answer right now?

E: Graceland!

L: You’re saying Graceland.. I would say Haim. Don’t Save Me, or FallingHaim altogether. I’ve been listening to them nonstop recently.

K: Advice for aspiring musicians?

L: Just go for it! There’s so many different ways of getting music out there now, with the internet especially. It’s so easy to record anything, there are so many different programmes for recording… YouTube.. Anything!

E: Be confident.

L: Yeah, have confidence in yourself and just go for it.

E: And don’t give up.

K: A favorite line from a song.. 

L: Do you know what’s funny actually? ….

E: Are we both the same? Yeah. We’re both the same.

L:  … When I listen to music, it would take me maybe, and I’m not joking, fifteen listens or so to actually hear the lyrics. When I listen to a song I always hear the melodies or the beats first. I’m really bad at lyrics.

E: And I’m exactly the same. I’m really really bad with lyrics!

L: I can’t even think…

K: It’s tough. Some people like to email me later..

L: Can we email you?

E: Because the thing is, I’m going to be walking around later…

K: Cat or Dog?

L & E (In unison): CAT.

E: Oh no! Am… We both have a cat, but recently i’ve got more into dogs.. We have a family cat so…

L: Are you a cat or a dog person?

K: Dog. But we never had a cat..

E: And we never had a dog! But I’m kind of slowly moving over…

L: Yeah! I love dogs!

K: And finally… Maltesers or Minstrels?

L: That’s a tough one.

E: I’m going to say Maltesers. Because I love Maltesers and popcorn together. It’s like the best combination!

L: You know, I think I’d go for Minstrels..

E: Louise!

L: I love Maltesers, but sometimes I feel them not chocolate-ly enough.

K: That’s what I like!

E: Yeah, I like how you’ve got your little outer shell of chocolate…

*laughter*

E: Great question.

And that’s it! Keep up to date with everything Heathers via:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeathersTunes  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeathersMusic  

Tumblr: http://heathersmusic.tumblr.com

Flashback: An interview with Royseven’s Paul Walsh (January, 2011).

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Royseven recently played in NUIG as part of the SU Sessions.
The guys arrived from Dublin where they were doing interviews ahead of their
new album release for “You Say We Say”. Unfortunately two members were
delayed in traffic but the others in the band adapted very well to being a
four piece and played a really enjoyable gig. The album looks set to be a
winner.

After their set, I got a few minutes with Paul Walsh to talk about the band.

Katy: First off, how did you all get involved in Royseven?
Paul Walsh: We were in a band called Jove together and the bass player left.
We took on another bass player, plus a guitar player, and decided it was time
to change the name, change the sound a little bit, and that’s how Royseven
came to be. How the name came to be is another bloody story!

K: Where did the name come from?
P: Well we wanted to call the band Roy after the first song we wrote
together, but there were four other bands called Roy around the world, so
for copyright reasons we couldn’t go there. Then we thought, well there are
six of us in the band, we could call it Roysix but that doesn’t work,
doesn’t sound phonetically nice, in any way pleasant. I heard an interview
with David Bowie, and he said “a song is never complete until somebody
outside the writing process has heard it”, so we thought there’re six in the
band plus the listener.  So that’s Royseven.  We think it’s a sweet little
idea.

K: You’ve had great success, including meteor awards. Does that make it
easier for the band?
P:  No. Not really. People expect more, and then you have hiccups like
today and people go “Oh my God, they won what? They shouldn’t have won
anything!” So, no, it doesn’t make it any easier, no. I mean it’s probably
easier from a PR perspective because it’s something to talk about, but that
was three or four years ago now, so we don’t really use it you know? We
wouldn’t use it.

K: After your debut album, “The Art of Insincerity” you went on tour for
quite a bit.
P: We didn’t intentionally take a break. We changed record companies, and
we were waiting for a particular producer. So all in all, with signing the
new deal, which took a year to negotiate, and waiting for this producer,
which took a year, we starting recording in November ’09 and finished in
July 2010. So time just flies! The main thing is for us is we’re happy with the
product we have, we’re really happy with the album. The response so far has
been really good, and positive from people.

K: As your first album was received so well, was it nerve-wracking to go
back to the drawing board and start all over again?
P: No, because I think we’d learned so many lessons from the first
record, so many things we could have done a lot better and we toured Europe
with the first record, which is quite difficult because a lot of songs on
the first album were quite mid tempo, and with this record we wanted to have
songs that we could play live, that would get people moving, and more
involved, and maybe more accessible to sing along, maybe not so heavy and
introspective. So we kind of geared the album towards that. We were looking
forward to a chance to prove ourselves, that we could do something slightly
different without completely reinventing the wheel, you know?

K: The first released single from this is “Killer”. What was the
inspiration for it?
P: Quite honestly, my manager joked with me one day and said. “Why can’t
you write a song like the Killers?” and I thought, “Well we’re not the
fucking Killers” and then actually, the word ‘killer’ seemed appealing and I
liked that, and we’d be touring so I was watching Criminal Minds back to
back a LOT. So I thought well I never usually do any narrative lyric, so I
thought I’d just write a story about a guy. Yeah, it’s really weird, the way
it came about, but it worked out and we like it so.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUvlRWskhVM

K: Great. Now a few questions so people can get to know you better!
Favorite You Tube video right now?
P: I was looking at one today from American guys coming back from a
bachelor party, and one of the guys is asleep in the passenger seat? So the
others in the seven-seater car decide to all scream frantically like they’re
about to crash, to wake this guy up. So they have the camera on him, and all
you can hear is the guys going “AHHHHH!!”.  So the passenger guy wakes up
and automatically starts screaming as well because he’s taken up by this
emotion you know? So that’s what I looked at today, that was really funny so
I put that on my Facebook page.

K: Cat or Dog?
P:  You see, traditionally, I’m a cat person, but we have a dog at home
the last few years and I really love the dog, so the dog’s kind of taken
over now. You seem pleased about that. You don’t like cats at all, no? Cats
don’t give a shit. Cats are smart. I like the independence of a cat, I like
that they’re sort of like “fuck you, I’m gonna do this on my own and if you
want to throw me out, that’s fine, I’ll be fine!” whereas as a dog would be
like, ‘Oh my God! Don’t throw me out!”

K: Maltesers of Minstrels?
P: Maltesers. It’s the lighter way to enjoy chocolate. I love Maltesers.
They’re lovely!

K: A line of a song that means something to you.
P: “Before you slip into unconsciousness I’d like to have another kiss,
another flashing chance at bliss, another kiss, another kiss”. “Crystal
Ship” by The Doors. The first line, it’s a beautiful line.

K: Finally, what’s up next for Royseven?
P: Rehearse! No, what’s up for Royseven next is, we’re off to Germany on
Thursday because… I can’t tell you why we’re off to Germany but there’s
a press conference on Friday morning for something that’s happening for the
band now, we’re really happy about it*. So then we’re over to Germany again,
we’re doing the Ruby Sessions in Dublin next Tuesday, another acoustic
thing. I promise it’ll be better than this. Then we’re back to Germany the
weekend of the 11th and 12th of February to do two shows in Hanover. The
album release then, and gigs associated with that, so TV shows and all that
kind of stuff. Then back to Germany, Austria, Switzerland and try to make a
go of it. Now if that all goes pear shaped, back to college!

*It was announced on Friday that Royseven are the newcomer for Rock at this
year’s VW Sound Foundation. They were chosen over 150 applicants.